by Kathy Masterson
THE establishment of a major film studio in Limerick is one step closer following Limerick City and County Council’s announcement that it is to purchase the former Dell building in Plassey.
The local authority revealed this morning that it is to purchase the 350,000 square foot building from businessman PJ Noonan for “in the region of €5-6 million as part of its strategy for infrastructural development”.
Discussions with Wicklow-based Ardmore Studios regarding the establishment of a film studio in the former warehouse building are still ongoing.
It is believed that the negotiations should be complete by the end of this week.
A spokesperson for the council explained: “It is proposed that the building will house a major international media hub to facilitate the production of film and television content and to provide support services.”
The site, which is approximately 25 acres in size with 7.5 acres of development land and 750 car spaces, was previously used as ‘The Culture Factory’ event venue for Limerick City of Culture 2014.
It is hoped that the proposed film studio will create in the region of 700 new jobs for Limerick.
Limerick City and County Council chief executive Conn Murray said the purchase is “the first step in our strategy to create major studio facilities in Limerick. The next part of the process is to finalise our discussions with Ardmore Studios. We have been encouraged by the response to this initiative”.
Mr Murray said he is hopeful that the purchase of the building will lead to major sustainable employment and the creation of a new film industry in Limerick.
“There is a clear and urgent demand for large scale studio space and support buildings in Ireland, and many of the pre-conditions necessary for the creation of studios already exist in Limerick,” he added.
Mr Murray concluded: “We hope that this is just the start of a project which will create a new industry and a huge number of jobs locally. It’s also a logical legacy of Limerick’s year as National City of Culture 2014 and its bid to become European Capital of Culture for 2020.”
The Plassey Technology Park building is said to be particularly well suited for use as a film studio due to its size and ceiling height.
Limerick has also recently been visited by The Dark Knight and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon producer Philip Lee as a possible location for a $120m budget blockbuster.